Eli Lilly Ends Coronavirus Antibody Treatment Trial, Other Studies Go On

In this May 2020 file photo provided by Eli Lilly, a researcher tests possible COVID-19 antibodies in a laboratory in Indianapolis. On Monday, U.S. government officials announced they are putting an early end to a study testing an Eli Lilly antibody drug for people hospitalized with COVID-19 because it doesn’t seem to help. David Morrison/AP

David Morrison/AP

Eli Lilly & Co. is ending a clinical trial of its antibody drug in hospitalized COVID-19 patients after federal researchers concluded the therapy doesn’t work on them.

The study of the monoclonal antibody called bamlanivimab was initially paused by the company on Oct. 13 out of “an abundance of caution,” because of a potential safety concern. For this particular study the therapy was being used in combination with remdesivir, an antiviral with emergency use authorization for the virus.

That is the same compound treatment President Trump received after contracting the coronavirus.

But on Monday, the National Institutes of Health, which sponsored the trial, found the drug posed no significant safety risks for patients. Instead, researchers said, “bamlanivimab is unlikely to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients recover from this advanced stage of their disease.”

The decision to end this particular study does not put an end to Lilly’s investment in the experimental therapy. In fact, company officials said they “remain confident … that bamlanivimab monotherapy may prevent progression of disease for those earlier in the course of COVID-19.”

The company and the NIH are pursuing several additional trials involving the antibody, which is designed to stop the virus from infecting cells. All target patients in less advanced stages of the disease.

Vanessa Romo
Author: Vanessa Romo

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